This post introduces Vicki Shaver, a fabulous girlfriend from my junior high/high school days. We’ve been pals for a long time. Vicki was one of the lights of our area in Michigan. We lived in Benton Harbor just up the coast and about a million miles in culture away from Chicago. It was a depressed area and both Vicki and I grew up on the wrong side of Napier Avenue (the proverbial railroad tracks in our town). Regardless of whatever was going on, Vicki was always the most upbeat person in the neighborhood. She still is and I’m ecstatic that she’s sharing some of her sunshine here at Le Bon Chef. So, without further ado….here’s Vicki!
My love of cooking came directly from my Grandma Hamilton, née Clarice Marie LeBon. She tried to pass this on to her daughter (my mother), but it just didn’t stick. Mom was much more content sitting and reading a book or listening to a radio program than standing in the kitchen. I happily spent every weekend of my childhood with my wonderful grandmother who spoiled me rotten and taught me traditional homemaking skills like sewing, crocheting, hairstyling, and cooking. The list of things she taught me doesn’t end there, but I’ll save that for another day.
One of my earliest memories involves food (coffee is food, right?) I never felt more special than when Grandma and I made twin cups of Sanka on Saturday morning. This is how I learned food was like science; you have to carefully measure, pour, and stir to create something delicious. A spoonful of decaffeinated coffee crystals, another of powdered creamer, and another one (or two) of sugar all ceremoniously topped with boiling water from a stovetop kettle. I became addicted to the flavor and aroma, and even now days that don’t include a morning cup are all out of whack.
Most women I know have a love-hate relationship with food. Mine is no different, but has the added complication of me being obsessed with the whole process. You can often find me reading cookbooks or celebrity chef biographies, watching movies, food reality shows, or YouTube “how to” videos, planning vacations around famous eateries (especially if there’s a chef’s table!), and of course whiling away the hours in my own kitchen creating, cursing, and tasting! If it has anything to do with food I’m there making Grandma Hamilton proud.